Randy Gregory Hopes Lessons From His Past Can Help Young Bucs Teammates

April 4th, 2024

Edge rusher Randy Gregory.

On face value, Joe guesses other Bucs fans had the same thought Joe had when it was learned yesterday that the Bucs signed edge rusher Randy Gregory.

The thought was, “Why?”

Not only is Gregory’s production really no better than what the Bucs already have on the roster, Gregory is no stranger to the long arm of Roger Goodell’s law since the Cowboys made him a second-round pick in 2015.

By Joe’s count on Pro-Football-Reference.com, Gregory was suspended four times in his first four seasons. That’s not counting when he got popped for a whiz quiz at the combine.

He knew he was going to get tested at the combine, and still…

Since, it appears, Gregory has been clean. His biggest problem has been staying healthy. Let’s just say between the suspensions and the injuries, Bill Parcells was not thinking of Gregory when the famed coach said, “Your best ability is your availability.”

Gregory said today that last year was the first time he had been healthy and/or not suspended for a full season in college or the NFL.

Gregory’s background is hardly Norman Rockwell-like. Per a feature typed by the great Dan Pompei of The Athletic some three years ago, Gregory has gone through rehab several times (seven different clinics in four years), survived an awful upbringing where he moved often, was a victim of bullying and used to drop ‘shrooms and acid while growing fond of marijuana.

Gregory told Pompei that he likely has failed over 100 different drug tests.

So yesterday when Joe learned the Bucs signed Gregory, Joe wondered why would the Bucs introduce a guy like this into a locker room with so many young and talented players? Isn’t that begging for trouble?

It reminded Joe of a move the Bucs would make during the depths of the Lost Decade. It’s not like there weren’t other options.

Gregory was asked early in his press conference today about “mentoring” youngsters. Gregory, to his credit, didn’t shy away from his troubled background.

“I have been through a lot, I will say that,” Gregory said. “I think anyone that knows me knows my stories. … I’ve had ups and downs as far as production and as far as me, as a person. So I have a lot of experience I can help the guys that way.”

Gregory, without any prodding, wanted to make clear he is no locker room cancer.

“I have never been one to be a nuisance in the locker room,” Gregory said. “I feel good as far as my influence on [younger players], they are young, they will be sponges. I can learn from them, they can learn from me. I really think it is a good opportunity.”

Even though Gregory said he has learned, maybe the hard way, he believes he can be an asset to younger players.

“I think for me, with some of these younger guys, helping them understand some of the dangers of being in the league,” Gregory said. “Helping them understand not only the football side of things but a lot of stuff that is going on behind the scenes that people don’t think about.”

To be fair, Gregory was last suspended in February 2019, per Joe’s research.  In NFL terms, that’s damn near a career ago.

In Pompei’s article, Gregory mentioned how he was nearly homeless when playing for the Cowboys as a result of all his off-field problems (including financial) and had he simply reached out, he could have received help.

Today, Gregory admitted help is close at hand in the NFL and with the Bucs he only has to be willing to reach out.

Joe is willing to have an open mind here. It’s not unlike what Bucs defensive lineman Will Gholston went through growing up in Detroit, only without the suspensions and substance issues.

Gholston, by all accounts, is a class act and a beacon in the Bucs locker room, and a true mentor to younger players both on and off the field. (Yes, Joe knows Gholston is an unsigned free agent.)

Perhaps if Gregory, 31, can stay healthy, he could surprise everyone and help get the Bucs back to the playoffs?

And who knows, maybe Gregory can get seven sacks?

54 Responses to “Randy Gregory Hopes Lessons From His Past Can Help Young Bucs Teammates”

  1. Simeon4HOF Says:

    Good article. Figured the Bucs would want to bring in a Vet irregardless of how productive he might still be in order to help mentor the younger players. Liked his press conference, and no reason to be so hard on him especially about his past. Feel strongly the Bucs saw enough out Diaby to be confident in him as their top Edge going 4ward and fervently hope the Bucs still draft another top young Edge in Rd1 or 2. Gregory is an asset

  2. Dewey Selmon Says:

    He’s not clean, he knows how to work the system and when the urine screens are administered. Weed shouldn’t even be tested for but if you can’t stop long enough when you know a test is coming then it’s a problem in my opinion.

  3. JBuc76NH Says:

    Just bc u don’t like the move doesn’t mean u have to crap on the guy. I thought his PC was honest and up front. He’s here to compete for reps..as he said. That’s all. Man JOe..don’t let the national media negativity get to ya!!! 🏴‍☠️

  4. Dr Says:

    Character matters, and this dude has a lifeline of lacking it.

    By contrast, Barrett was a great role model with a strong work ethic. Wish the Bucs could have renegotiated his contract to have been heavily incentivize-based.

  5. Crickett Baker Says:

    Ya, Dewey. He doesn’t seem very smart. IDK what he would teach our younger players .It seems that mostly, they already know more than he does.

  6. HC Grover Says:

    Estate Sale

  7. Lt. Dan Says:

    “Norman Rockwell-like.” Stop it Joe. The young’uns on this thread have no idea what that reference means.

  8. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    What are you, Peter King, somehow equating recreational drug use to a person’s character? Especially in an era where “drug” testing is barely a thing anymore. And unless the injuries beat him up, he’s still got a lot of mileage left on him due to all the outdated drug panic the NFL went through. The NFL had no problem with synthetic and addictive opioids but I guess that was ok.

    He’s a rental. The Cowboys & Broncos at his lowest both offered him a ton of money, which DOES speak to his character, actually.

  9. CleanHouse Says:

    Better than your first article

  10. SlyPirate Says:

    What else is he supposed to say?

  11. heyjude Says:

    Excellent article, Joe.

    Gregory has been in rehab many times, and that is the thing with drug addiction, going to rehab over and over again will not work unless you really want to stop the addiction. Having lost a young family member last year from an accidental drug overdose, I hope that Randy’s words now really mean he is clean, healthier, and committed to being so long term. 2019 is a while ago. So there is that. Everyone deserves chances and I hope we see the best of him and I definitely will be cheering for him.

  12. unbelievable Says:

    Eh, nothing wrong with a little weed or shrooms, so long as they don’t negatively interfere with your life and/or relationships.

    Now I get that for Gregory they did interfere, but it seems that was more from the archaic NFL rules. At least as far as we know, it did not affect his actual performance / ability on the field. I got paywalled halfway through the article, so I can’t comment on his ex-wife. But I won’t hold “failed rehab attempts” against him when it was most likely forced, and mostly likely over smoking some herb.

    As for being “Norman Rockwell-like”, let’s not pretend the Bucs have been an organization full of nothing but pious men either… Kellen Winslow, Warren Sapp, Jeremy Stevens, Antonio Brown, etc…

    I have no real expectations of him, but who knows, maybe he will surprise us. Certainly, he was not brought in to be a leader in the locker room.

  13. Scott Says:

    If he can get more sacks than Nelson then it will be a good signing

  14. Boss Says:

    dallas, denver, san fran….

    we hired this guy for the teams and systems just as much for his abilities.

    might be shaq in our system. till then welcome aboard the misfit toy train

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    This move has Bowles written all over it. He scouted him out of college. Frankly I don’t believe he will make it out of training camp/preseason. He really hasn’t been that good when hes straight, so I don’t get it.

  16. Boss' Mom Says:

    Get your lazy a$$ out of the basement and wash those damn dishes right now!!

  17. J Says:

    Worries me when the only value a player has is in the locker room and not on the field. This guy is literally giving us the excuse as to why his performance is not consistent…”BUT YOU WANT ME IN THE LOCKER ROOM”

    This might as well be a DEI hire.

  18. BillyBucco Says:

    Addiction is a serious thing. I don’t fault the guy for his battles.
    He actually sounds like a well spoken young man and maybe he has come out the other side of it. Dallas wanted him back when he signed with Denver and then they were horrible. SF has a ton of dudes so I really don’t know.
    Either way, until we see him play In Tampa, there is no way to know what his role will be and how he actually does until we watch it.
    Im obviously rooting for the guy.

  19. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    I will be rooting for the guy – he deserves another shot. Owned his mistakes, so let’s support him as a Buc.

    For anyone putting him down – glass house – stone – you know?!

  20. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Have to say though – does he look high in that picture, or is it just me?

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    I don’t know for sure what all the suspensions were for because the NFL doesn’t reveal that info. But I did find a sporting news article from 2020 that stated “Josh Gordon and Randy Gregory have both had severe suspensions due to multiple positive tests for marijuana in the last few years”

    If cannabis was Gregory’s “addiction” (similar to the Ricky Williams/Tanard Jackson sagas of the past) – then all this talk of “rehab” and “troubled past” and “begging for trouble” is ridiculous.

    Per the newest (2020) CBA (which was approved and enacted a year after Randy’s last suspension)- NFL players no longer get in “trouble” because they tested positive for marijuana. The league doesn’t test at all for THC in the off season and really only tests for 2 weeks during training camp. And if there IS a positive test now – its a matter of fines and potential referrals to ‘treatment’ – not suspension.

    Which is probably why Randy has been to “rehab” 7 times in 4 years… LOL

    So even if Gregory is still smoking the devil’s lettuce on the daily – it really doesn’t matter anymore. Unless you just like being judgemental about such things while drinking your morning coffee or evening libations….

    Every time I saw Carlton Davis I always thought – “he looks high as hell”….LOL

    I think I read somewhere awhile back that up to 70% of all NFL players smoke weed fairly regularly…. which is certainly better for their health than popping synthetic opiod pills or even tylenol/ibuprofen.

    So lets not act like Gregory is some kind of potential locker room cancer just because he prefers relaxing with Sour Diesel instead of a whisky sour….

  22. Dave Pear Says:

    Ya 74, he looks blazed. Still, if anyone can reach him from a personal – mental health standpoint, it’s Todd.

  23. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Just watch his press conference. I am impressed. “Mental health is a real thing, it’s ok to ask for help” – paraphrasing – but good for him for saying it. He is not expecting to start, will keep his head down and earn every rep – he said. Good dude. All the best Greg! Go get ‘em!

  24. Durango 95 Says:

    Some fans want to make this more complicated than it needs to be. This is a low risk investment. Maybe Bowles has a scheme for this guy. If not, no loss.

  25. Faspro Says:

    Good job Greg, keep it up!!

  26. Bucsfan Says:

    Kyle Van Noy had 9 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last season in just 12 games and has two Super Bowl rings. I believe I certainly would have rather had Kyle on my team for 10 mil for 2 years. Why do Bucs keep missing the obvious and reaching?

  27. Mr. Editor Says:

    He’s a Buc now, so I wish him the best and for him to make the opponents’ QBs go down and go down hard. His signing is probably an insurance policy just in case the Bucs don’t draft an edge rusher to their liking.

  28. Boss Says:

    people do not go to rehab for weed. maybe rich people send their kids for it or an athlete or celebrity to apease the masses.

    weed keeps people out of rehab lol

  29. Jeff Says:

    He won’t make the team.

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Boss Says:
    “people do not go to rehab for weed”

    They do when the legal system or their unenlightened employer (NFL in this case) says they have to…. doesn’t mean there’s any benefit to it – but if ‘the system’ says “go or you lose your job/rights” – then you go…..

    At least the players don’t have to worry about getting suspended for their personal health/vice choices in the case of cannabis anymore.

    From what I’ve heard – that was the biggest concession that the players wanted in order to agree to the new 17th game on the schedule – which kind of proves how prevalent cannabis use is throughout the NFL…

  31. Dave Pear Says:

    Bucsfan – ever notice that Jason Licht teams have four consecutive playoff seasons, 6 playoff game wins, 3 consecutive division titles p, a Super Bowl win and a franchise record for wins in a season, all while dragging along a salary cap hell and a less than winning head coach who the GM didn’t hire?

    You should go over to OBP in person and give Jason your opinion. He is someone who seems to enjoy a good laugh.

  32. SB~LV Says:

    He has to make the team … that’s all I have to say about him

  33. RustyRhinos Says:

    “used to drop ‘shrooms and acid while growing fond of marijuana.”
    Joe, you say this like it is a bad thing.
    As long as he was not getting into trouble, not hurting anyone.
    Sure we could talk about those being against the law. Or how they are not good for a person if they are abused, as are many other vices.
    Where are all those BIG TALL FROSTY GLASSES of some of that prime MYFOB???

    Pssst… {{Hey Joe, You don’t “drop” shrooms, you eat them or make tea, or so I have heard from many, many fine people.}} Crazy thing is they were purple and blue and orange all at the same time… And we laughed so hard until our side felt like we took a few body shots from Iron Mike.
    Glad to hear he has gotten his life in order and he can be a good influence to the many different pitfalls of being a NFL player to our young team.
    Looking forward to seeing him with this opportunity in OTA and Training Camp and hopefully a full season of Buccaneer football.

  34. StormyInFl Says:

    It’s a low risk signing. There’s enough veteran leadership in that locker room to deal with any nonsense, and like someone said, his PC came off as sincere.

    Low risk, possible high reward. If he doesn’t show out in TC/Preseason he may not even make the final 53.

    It’s certainly better than paying Jadaveon Clowney 10 mil to coast through a season. That guy isn’t motivated unless he’s playing for a contract. Or Chase Young, who needs neck surgery. Those are dumb signings.

  35. Dave Pear Says:

    Rusty – I too have heard similar things about shrooms from, you know, anonymous friends. Along with similar effects, as the told me.

  36. HC Grover Says:

    Quest for a 9-8 season.

  37. Tucker Says:

    Cool low risk signing like it hope he does well.

  38. Pops Malone Says:

    Good article Joe. Maybe some good can come from the bad he has been through, not only for him, but for those young guys around him….this is a cool article

  39. geno711 Says:

    The NFL stopped testing for THC except for a 2 to 3 week period from the start of training camp to the 1st training camp game. So Gregory only has to keep “clean” during that time period.

    That change was made during the 2020 CBA.

  40. stpetebucfan Says:


    “I think I read somewhere awhile back that up to 70% of all NFL players smoke weed fairly regularly…. which is certainly better for their health than popping synthetic opiod pills or even tylenol/ibuprofen.

    So lets not act like Gregory is some kind of potential locker room cancer just because he prefers relaxing with Sour Diesel instead of a whisky sour….”

    Hear! Hear! I remember in the ’50’s as a very small child MLB players doing commercials for cigarettes.

    But if we’re really going to talk drugs and sports how can we leave out Doc Ellis tossing a NO-Hitter on Acid!!! I still have difficulty comprehending that but in fairness I’ve only had the demon THC not LSD.

  41. David Says:

    He was either high and suspended or high and injured. I expect nothing from him.
    That said, the dude had the talent to be 10 sacks a year for a decade. If he is healthy and focused, he could be a valuable part of the pass rush rotation, just not holding my breath

    Hopefully they are testing him daily though

  42. EEK Says:

    Said the guy who is a locker room cancer….

    It’s important to leave room for growth but he’s got a long documented track record of self-sabotage

    Hopefully he can contribute but sounds desperate to sign him

  43. SenileSenior Says:

    Some folks have to learn how and when to forgive. When you can leave the trash in your life behind you have the beginning of wisdom.

    Go Bucs!!!

  44. realistic-optimistic Says:

    The NFL revised their rules regarding marijuana in 2021. Players are only tested once per season now, at the start of training camp. No surprise he hasn’t failed one for a few seasons. But, can we stop calling marijuana use “substance abuse,” please? GTFOH with that take.

  45. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    He must be related to Dick Gregory because he’s been on a strict diet of getting sacks. Not something our young Bucs need to learn. All he can show them is how to do less than minimum and still get a pay check!

  46. Razor Ramone Says:

    Wasn’t he the guy who had the game of his life against The Bucs and Jayboo several years back in Dallas? Thursday night football I think.

  47. unbelievable Says:

    “Boss” proving he’s clueless on yet another subject.


  48. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    You know after reading some of the posts by the fanbooboos up here, they surprisingly contain elements of testosterone in them, that is as long as they’re not talking about their Bakerboo buuuut as soon as anyone says anywhere close to not praising his greatness they pop their estrogen pills and hell hath no fury like a Baker fanbooboo scorned!

  49. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Razor I think his name was Lawrence

  50. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    I hope it works out.

  51. Peter Says:

    Multiple people have mentioned the changes to the drug testing program. I also think there’s a therapeutic use exemption that he likely qualifies for. As a Bucs fan living in Dallas, I remember the troubles he had here. He was never a bad guy, and everyone just felt bad for him with the strict testing policy causing his suspensions. I don’t know if he’ll be productive, but I doubt he’ll be a problem or get suspended.

  52. BAKERSBucs says Says:

    Why is it said that people died of an accidental overdose u know from an early age drugs r bad it is no accident u put street drugs in u r body thats like saying she got pregnant by accident plz that is sooo stupid analogies these people r fully aware of the risk they take no mercy for ignorant choices it is u r choice

  53. RustyRhinos Says:

    BAKERSBucs, Have you not gotten the latest AL info on pregnancies? You can’t get pregnant if you hold an aspirin between your knees…

  54. BUCman Says:

    Head scratcher!!